My biggest gripe with wearing AirPods Pro while running is that they fall from my ears too frequently. But there’s a cheap fix for that.
Given my not-so-great history of running with AirPods Pro — the only sweat-resistant AirPods up to this point — I’m wary about how the third-generation AirPods will hold up when I hit the treadmill or track.
Could the AirPods 3 become one of the best running headphones? With an IPX6 rating for sweat and water resistance, there’s finally a product under $200 in the AirPods lineup you can wear while working out.
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And it’s not just AirPods. Wireless earbuds and I don’t seem to mesh. I’ll almost always reach for my AirPods Max before my AirPods Pro, but I’m not keen on exposing $549 headphones to sweat.
Instead, I’ve tried Powerbeats Pro for running, Jabra Elite Active 75t for running and bone conduction headphones for running. All had advantages, and disadvantages, compared to the AirPods Pro.
In an attempt to give AirPods Pro another go at the starting block, I took a recommendation sent by a reader who has been following my wireless earbuds woes. They swore by an $11 accessory, so naturally, I had to try it.
Not that I’m thrilled to dish out additional dough for devices that come with their own cases, but an affordable accessory serves me well for the AirPods Max. So I ordered these Elago ear hooks on Amazon, and after using these little attachments on a run in the gym, I’m never taking AirPods Pro anywhere without them.
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The Powerbeats Pro offered the best alternative for security, with sturdy built-in ear hooks. But after a while of having them looped around my ear, the Powerbeats Pro caused an uncomfortable pinching sensation on both sides of my head.
I experienced no such pain with the AirPods ear hooks. Better yet, they stayed put the entire 30 minutes I ran on the treadmill. And as some of the best noise cancelling earbuds, I didn’t have to listen to the jostling of weights or ill-timed phone calls of my fellow gym-goers.
AirPods 3 for running? What I hope to see
One of things I liked most about running with bone conduction headphones was not having to have anything shoved inside my ears while I’m sweating and flailing around. I haven’t mastered how to run faster yet, but I’m certainly trying.
That’s why I’m excited to try out AirPods 3 for running. As long as I have my $11 ear hooks on standby, I imagine wearing the new AirPods will be more comfortable overall than wearing AirPods Pro. The actual buds look more like the less-intrusive original AirPods.
Without ear tips, I’ll have to trade-off active noise cancellation and transparency mode. That could be a major inconvenience at the gym. But when I’m outside running, I actually like being able to hear what’s going on around me.
It's still important that my music sounds strong enough to motivate me, though. Audio quality will be a determining factor of whether AirPods 3 vs. AirPods Pro are the best workout headphones for me. AirPods 3 orders are shipping soon, so it's not long until I find out.